AFA Statement on Emergency COVID Relief Deal

Washington, DC (December 21, 2020) — The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, released the following statement from International President Sara Nelson, on the bipartisan agreement for emergency COVID relief, including a four-month extension of the Payroll Support Program:

“Aviation is safe when we fly with the spirit that ‘we’re all in this together.’ Americans have not been safe nor had a safety net to catch us as COVID relief dried up even as the pandemic spiked. For millions of Americans, everything is at stake. We applaud the Senators who recognized this moment and rose above the political clouds to demonstrate we can work together for solutions. This is only the beginning. We have a lot more work to do. But today, it should be clear that we can.

“We fought hard to extend the Payroll Support Program and get all aviation workers back on payroll and connected to healthcare.The bipartisan COVID emergency relief bill will make it happen. We also fought to win emergency relief for the entire country, from extending unemployment benefits and banning evictions, to aid for our schools and public services and direct payments to families. This bill is a down payment on many of those priorities, but far more will be needed in the coming year.

“We are in the worst economic emergency in living memory. This agreement will get tens of millions of working people emergency help, including more than 12 million who are slated to lose unemployment insurance by December 26, 30-40 million who were at risk of losing their homes. The legislation will also restore paychecks for over one hundred thousand Flight Attendants and other aviation workers who have been without since October 1. The $15 Billion for our Payroll Support Program (PSP) will recall all aviation workers, provide pay from December 1 through March 31, prohibit furloughs, maintain hourly pay rates, restore service to all communities, and support vaccine distribution with the people, planes, and routes necessary to meet demand. The PSP also extends both the cap on executive compensation and ban on stock buybacks well after the relief package expires.

“AFA Flight Attendants made over 43,000 calls, sent nearly 100,000 letters, and held 32 #ReliefNow events in 24 cities driving more than a thousand stories - from national networks to local TV and radio, documentaries, digital and print - on our demands for relief for all working Americans. This bill provides four months of emergency relief. It is desperately needed aid now, and it gives us the strength to fight for the stimulus package we need in the new year to rebuild an economy for all. 

“Our Payroll Support Program was initially achieved in March. We worked closely with the leadership - Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and the relentless efforts of Speaker Pelosi(D-CA) and Leader Schumer (D-NY) - to ensure any airline relief would be #WorkersFirst as part of the CARES Act. This would not have been possible without extraordinary champions in Chairman Peter DeFazio and Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS), along with Ranking Members Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Representative Sam Graves (R-MO), who reflected the near unanimous bipartisan support for continuing our jobs and infrastructure program. These leaders and their staff never gave up on aviation workers. Now airlines can return people to work and get them paid as we put the pieces back together with training required for recertification and security clearance. 

"The American people will benefit as we get people off unemployment, connected to healthcare, paying into the economy to support millions of other jobs, and the airline industry is put back together and prepared to meet the demand of vaccine distribution and economic recovery.

"We call on Congress to vote for this emergency relief immediately."


The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, (AFA) AFL-CIO represents nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 17 airlines. AFA is the union that has advanced the Flight Attendant profession for 75 years, beating back discrimination and improving wages, benefits, working conditions, and aviation safety, health and security in the aircraft cabin. AFA also partners with the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at

News Desk

Latest News

See All »

Media Releases

See All »

Latest Tweets

Union Plus Benefits

union-plus.jpgUnion Plus Benefits for AFA-CWA Members!
AFA-CWA members are automatically eligible for the following Union Plus benefits and discounts.

More benefits »